I love this project. It’s simple. Kids love it. It only requires a few supplies. It provides opportunities for learning and sensory input. And who doesn’t have an empty toilet paper roll?!
In fact, I love this project so much that we make these pretty much every year. The kids enjoy all aspects of it. One thing I like about this project is how it engages the senses. The peanut butter and the bird seed both give olfactory (smell) sensory input. Rolling it in the bird seed and hanging it on a tree are excellent tactile input. And both making the bird feeder and later observing the birds who use it are visual.
If you have a child who is very sensory avoidant when it comes to touching textures or when it comes to smells, they may prefer to watch someone else make the bird feeder and then enjoy observing it in action once it is complete.
How to make a toilet paper roll bird feeder:
- empty toilet paper roll
- peanut butter
- bird seed
- knife or spoon for spreading the peanut butter
- plate or paper plate
- optional: string
- Put a layer of bird seed onto a plate.
- Spread peanut butter on the outside of a toilet paper roll using a knife or spoon.
- Roll the toilet paper roll in the bird seed. Because of the peanut butter, the seeds will stick.
- Loop the string through the toilet paper roll and hang it on a tree or slip the toilet paper roll directly onto a tree branch.
- Observe the birds who come to feed.
How to make a toilet paper roll bird feeder without peanut butter:
With many schools being peanut and/or nut free, you may need to make this without peanut butter. You can use Sunbutter (a sunflower butter) in place of the peanut butter.
Expanding this activity:
Use a journal or notebook to write down observations of the birds, their sounds, their habits, their colour, their features or to draw pictures of the birds observed.
Using a book from the library or the internet, try to identify the different bird species that are visiting.
Make the bird feeder using a different type of bird seed and observe whether other varieties of birds visit.
What types of birds do you think will visit the feeder?
What types of birds are attracted to the seeds we are using?
This is one of the many activities included in The Sensory Science Book Volume 1. It contains ideas for the themes of Colour, The Senses, and Nature. Other Sensory Science Activities you may enjoy: